Our Compensation Clinic case this week is about the recent employee strike at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver which I wrote about a few weeks ago and where I had a reservation during the same period.
For several months I had planned to head back to Vancouver for a couple days in late October and made a reservation using Hyatt points early on at a rate of 12,000 points per night (Cat 3 Property).
Then in September suddenly there was a longstanding labor dispute that eventually resulted in hotel workers going on strike at the Hyatt and some other Vancouver properties which had an impact on the hotels operations.
A few weeks prior to my stay I received the following email from Hyatt:
Dear Valued Guest,
We look forward to welcoming you to Hyatt Regency Vancouver for your upcoming stay.
Ahead of your visit, we wanted to make you aware of a potential labor union situation you may experience during your stay from demonstrations and / or work stoppage by Vancouver’s local UNITE HERE labor union.
Due to the work stoppage, we have modified a number of our operations to maintain a consistent level of service offered.
Housekeeping: Guest rooms will not be serviced daily. A variety of amenities, towels, and bottles of water will be available in the lobby. Please inquire with lobby staff to obtain additional items. If you are in need of towel or trash service, please contact the hotel operator prior to 12 noon and an associate will attend to your room prior to 5pm.
Mosaic Grille: Open daily for breakfast, we will be offering a $15 breakfast buffet inclusive of a selection of hot and continental items as well as a coffee and juice station.
Breakfast 6:30 AM to 10:00 AM
Mosaic Bar: Hours of operation will be 5:00pm – 9:00pm, serving a small selection of chef’s choice appetizers as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase.
Hotel Access: We recommend you carry your hotel key card with you at all times during your stay.
As with a number of hotels in Vancouver, the Hyatt Regency Vancouver is in negotiations with UNITE HERE, and we are optimistic about reaching a fair contract in the best interests of the hotel and our colleagues as quickly as possible.
We are available if you have any concerns about these events and we encourage you to let us know if there’s anything we can do to make your experience at our hotel better.
As always, thank you for choosing to stay with us and please reach out with any questions.
General Manager, Hyatt Regency Vancouver
What eventually happened was that pretty much the entire hotel had been shut down which included the Bar and even the Starbucks in the lobby which is apparently owned and operated by the hotel itself.
All outlets were pretty much entirely run by managers. From the breakfast at Mosaic to the Front Desk.
Furthermore the hotel had posted several security guards inside the lobby and locked all but one door. It had the feel of a prison rather than a hotel. Not sure what the security is there for though, it seems to be a Vancouver thing in case of strikes because the Westin Bayshore had plenty of security too during the strike there.
Even ahead of the stay I was in contact with the property following this email to inquire about the lounge situation which was closed as well for the entire period.
Without prompting I was promised a refund of 50% of the points used for my 4 day stay, 24,000 total refund. I also asked for the fridge in the room to be stocked with non alcoholic beverages as usually available at the lounge.
The points were refunded several days after my stay:
I have used the same 24k points for another stay at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver this last week and the strike was in the meanwhile over with all departments and the entire operations running at regular capacity again.
I found the compensation offered in this case to be generous and overall justified. It wasn’t a very comfortable environment staying at the Hyatt during the strike period. The security I mentioned and overall empty property provided the feeling of staying in a ghost town. Rates for competing hotels had in the meanwhile risen to levels that made no sense paying for so there was little choice other than staying at the Regency.
This strike was the result of the properties owners (InnVest) not providing the workers with a proper contract for several years, trying to squeeze the lemon more and more after acquiring the property from Hyatt. As such I have no problem asking for and suggesting others to request compensation if affected by strikes which cuts into the owners profits.